Ald. Milele Coggs
Press Release

John Lewis: A champion for the rights of the underserved and underrepresented

Statement of Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs July 20, 2020

By - Jul 20th, 2020 05:14 pm

One of the greatest choices I have ever made was to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.  I chose Fisk, in part, because of its rigorous academics, the illustrious alumni and its history of influence in movements for civil and human rights. Fellow Fiskites and I, along with the rest of this nation, are now mourning the passing of one of those illustrious alumni – Congressman John Lewis (D-GA).

I spent years on campus hearing stories about Congressman Lewis’s work to fight for the rights of the underserved and underrepresented. I had the opportunity later in life to meet the Congressman and I am forever grateful for having had a chance to do so. As we see the unrest across the nation unfold and the protests that continue to take place in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and others who have suffered similar fates at the hands of police officers, we must recognize that challenging the status quo and demanding changes in policies and practices is a necessary component to move toward much needed change. Many of those who have laid the foundation for the protests and demands for legislative change we now see are passing (C.T. Vivian, Elijah Cummings, etc.) and we cannot allow their sacrifice to be in vain. As Congressman Lewis said, “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something.  Our children and their children will ask us, ‘What did you do? What did you say?”

The greatest tribute we can give to those who have fought before us is to continue the fight until systemic change actually occurs. In the case of Congressman John Lewis, I am in agreement with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s recent tweet, “Now bring the John Lewis Voting Advancement Act (HR4) to the Senate Floor for a vote immediately.”

With this in mind, I have introduced a resolution to be put for immediate adoption at our next Common Council meeting (9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28th) in support of the John Lewis Voting Advancement Act (HR4) and for our Intergovernmental Relations Division to advocate for its passage.


More about the 2020 Racial Justice Protests

Read more about 2020 Racial Justice Protests here

Mentioned in This Press Release

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